We all have our favorite ways to distract ourselves from the rawness of being.
We have a few hours free, so we pop on the computer, have a snack, read, socialize, drink a beer, make a tea, clean, fix or build something, watch television or maybe even exercise, practice yoga or meditate.
These various distractions are our comfort zone.
There is nothing inherently “right” or “wrong” with comfortable activities. On one hand, doing things in our comfort zone is a rather pleasant part of human life—one must enjoy oneself! On the other hand, it often keeps us from seeing and embodying our deeper layers of authenticity.
What is that yearning inside you that you aren’t living?
Most people have one of these—and, even if they are living it to some extent, they’re generally not living it fully and completely every moment of every day. Why not? Because things are pretty comfortable and it’s not worth the effort.
People will really live that inner yearning only when the fire in them burns strong enough. A good way to do this is to step outside the comfort zone. I’m not suggesting living a super austere life with zero frills. Instead, I’m suggesting trying some experiments, like this one:
The next time you have free time for a few hours (or twenty minutes), sit down and do nothing. You can sit on the couch, but even better is somewhere mildly uncomfortable, like the ground outside or the floor while leaning against the wall. As you sit there, literally do nothing.
Do not watch a screen. Do not read anything. Do not observe the breath. Do not repeat a mantra. Do not actively engage in thinking. Do not make an effort to stop thinking. Again, just sit there.
After a few minutes, all sorts of thoughts will arise. “This is stupid.” “What’s the point.” “I really aught to be productive right now, there’s not enough time in the day to sit around like this.”
Also, you will likely have impulses that will tell you to stop sitting there and to go engage in some distraction—eating, urinating, napping or your favorite comfort zone tactic.
So what is the point?
When you just let your mind be all alone without distractions, nestled in the rawness of being, the most important things inevitably come to the surface. In other words, that deepest yearning will begin to speak very loudly (maybe you won’t be skilled enough to hear it the first time, but if you continue, it will eventually become very obvious).
Once you begin to actually hear it, you’ll find that you start filling those free time periods less by sinking into your comfort zone, and more by doing what’s most important to you.
Perhaps you will find the lessons learned from this simple experiment as fascinating as I have.